Mask Of Love

Each year in May, Vision Sciences Society holds its Best Illusion of The Year contest and this year’s absolute winner was an illusion by Jordan Suchow and George Alvarez from Harvard. Originally called “Silencing awareness of change by background motion” (or shorter “Silencing Illusion”) is something we already talked about few months ago, so in this post I shall concentrate on another piece that made it all the way to the final round.

Created by Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith and Marie-Jo Waeber, Venetian mask below holds an interesting secret! Before we begin, I’d like to ask if you notice anything special in it? Observe carefully! Now if I told you how surprising number of people miss noticing that the main component of the mask is actually composed of two distinct faces – a man and a woman kissing one another, how would you react? Apparently, once the viewer discerns two individual faces, his/her brain will flip between two possible interpretations of the mask, making the viewer perceive two faces or one face in alternation. This kind of illusion, where the viewer experiences two equally possible interchangeable stable states in perception, is called bistable illusion. If you weren’t able to see the two lovers, you may find the solution here.

© 2011 Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith & Marie-Jo Waeber

58 Replies to “Mask Of Love”

    1. I saw them as cheek to cheek at first, also. Now, I can see them as kissing most distinctly but still can see the other 2. Now Ive got THREE separate images and I might get motion sickness soon. Very good though.

    1. that’s what I saw until I looked at the solution – a slightly distorted single face. Very Cool!

  1. Very nice. I did not see the two faces kissing until it was mentioned. Now that I know about the 2 faces I can switch back and forth to see only one face or the kissing faces…

  2. Wow it is cool. I also saw it as a blurry image at first. the two people version is much clearer once you can see it.
    Thanks for your efforts here!

  3. Ok, I had to click on “here” to find the solution. Am I the only one who sees a roaring lion’s head in the gold part of the mask?

  4. I also see the woman in two differtent positions: 1) Facing forward like the man and 2) tilted towards the man.

  5. once u see the two faces everything makes sense cause if u look at the mouth theres a crack. Which shows the two mouths and a gray spot in between that they filled in because they wanted to be more harder to find the 2 faces

  6. i looked at the illusion and saw nothing spectacular. As i started reading the description i stopped, backed away, and saw the two people. i did that based on this illusion:http: //

  7. I’ve been looking for the 2 faces on the mask itself as you said. But you should have said to look in the hole in the mask.

  8. Very Clever. One of my favorites. its amazing that even after seeing the two people kissing, you actually can still see just one face…

  9. I agree with Cindy K, I see the 1 face front view, a couple getting ready to kiss, and 2 people cheek to cheek. I just keep seeing all 3 views.

  10. I was a bit confused at first – I was looking at the helmet which also has hidden face, trying to find the kissing faces there.

  11. Great optical illusion! Saw the kiss first then the face, now when I look at it the two images flip from one face to the kissing image………:)

    (Am I going to be left in MODERATION again?)

  12. I can see the two faces, but they do not look like they are kissing to me. It just looks like two separate faces side by side. If you click on “here” to see the example they look like they are kissing, but I only see shadow where the lips meet in the original photo. I like it though, very much.

  13. Checkd this with new site on my Verizon Droid2. The picture is almost to big for the screen, but the important part, the center of the screen, and the illusion show up fine. I also tried to tilt my screen to portrait, but the site did not change. I don’t know if this would have changed anything if the screen had rotated.

    As a side note this is one of my favorite illusions.

  14. I dont get it ! Yea it was awesome but i just dont get it … I bet ure thinking im crazy but rly whats tha big idea i dont think its a real illusion … What its gad other that a blury pic of 2 lovers ? So what!

    And thank u for posting it i DO think its great but not enogh but thats just me ~ byeoo~

    1. its the fact that from one direction, it looks like one face, and from a different direction, it looks like two faces. Thats whats cool about it,

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